LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote on giving employees at the Lafayette Police Department a pay raise.
Tuesday's night meeting was a full house.
Among the crowd was first responders and their supporters.
The majority of the room were those in support of the pay raise.
An entry-level police officer with the city's department makes $34,612 a year, which is less than the salary of a Carencro and Brossard police officer. Their salary is $40,000 a year.
The entry-level salary includes benefits and excludes overtime.
After an officer goes through basic training and spends a year in service, an officer is granted state supplemental pay, which is $6,000 a year. It's paid in increments of $500 per month by the state to the officer on their paycheck.
"Just this year, we've had over twenty-something officers leave. Since January of last year, it's been over 50 police officers have left our station," said Cpl. David Stanley, president of the Police Association of Lafayette.
Chief Toby Aguillard says the entire department is affected when officers leave for higher pay.
"It's caused a problem within our department in retention, and the officers we're losing are officers with a great deal of experience," said Aguillard.
The pay raise would cost the city $3.8 million.
LCG chief financial officer Lorrie Toups warned the council that taking that amount of money from the general fund may be dangerous for the city down the road.
"If we increase the use of fund balance by another $3.8 million, we'll be using 15 million in the current budget but a little bit over nine million is for reoccurring expenses," explained Toups.
The ordinance was amended twice by Councilman Kevin Naquin and then once by Councilman Kevin Boudreaux. All amendments failed.
Ultimately, the council unanimously decided to approve the introductory ordinance.
"Yes, move forward with it, Mr. Robideaux," Councilman Jared Bellard tells the mayor-president. "Look at hiring freezes. I mean, let's look at it all."
The ordinance will go up for vote at the next council meeting on November 5.